Race To The Top Shelf

When Barack Obama was elected to the presidency in 2008, the words post-racial America became a common utterance. Numerous broadcasts and print pieces expressed their optimism that the country – finally! – would move beyond the racist and racial attitudes that have long plagued our public (as well as private) discourse.

obamas1An August 17th Washington Post piece titled, Obama’s Vision of a Post-Racial America Looks Even More Distant Than Before, written by political reporter Chris Cillizza makes the point (following the events in Ferguson MO) that the President’s “… words have done little to heal the racial wounds in the country.” I suppose that point can be vigorously debated. Continue Reading →

Headed to Whoville?

On occasion, I need to be talked down from the ledge. Today was one of those days. It looked to be a good day for putting up Christmas decorations. (What’s the rush, you ask? I felt the same way, but the house was empty for once and I had an hour to spare.) I turned on the Christmas music and started carrying things out of the attic.

TangledMessThe pre-lit Christmas tree I purchased a couple years back comes in three pieces plus a stand. In order to store this decoration in the attic, it must be taken apart. Against my better judgment, I disassembled it for storing. Now, the various plugs connecting the three pieces that lead to one main plug are a dreadful, impossible muddle.

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Saluting Real Success

On his syndicated radio show Paul Harvey News and Comments, broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) used to celebrate the long marriages of audience members. Everyday at noon, he’d begin with his distinctive opening, “Hello, Americans! Stand by for news!” Then he’d go through various news stories of the day, usually the stories he most cared to report, and toward the end of the 15-minute broadcast, he’d mention one or another 50-years married couple and wish them his warm congratulations.

golden-anniversary-party-items-2The eminent radio personality would have known something about enduring marriage. He and his wife had been married more than 65 years before her death in 2008. With his broadcasts now consigned to the history of radio, it seems there’s no one else to offer a salute to today’s couples who’ve grown old together. I think that’s unfortunate. Continue Reading →

Shoe Height

When I was younger, I remember one of the memory cues related to the Book of Job came in the form of a question: who was the shortest man named in the Bible? The answer was Bildad the Shuhite (shoe height). Our introduction to this “friend” and “comforter” of Job comes in the eighth chapter of the book.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

The exact meaning of Bildad’s name is uncertain, but there is a connotation Bel has loved. Bel (or Baal) was an ancient Babylonian deity and Bildad’s initial speech urges Job to consult the ancient (possibly religious) authorities in order to understand his current suffering. Continue Reading →

Absent “A”

A message in this morning’s Inbox caught my eye. (The email is actually dated yesterday, but I hadn’t read it until today.) I didn’t immediately recognize the author’s name, but the title, Stop Sending Cheery Christmas Cards, definitely piqued my interest. I clicked the link.

WarrenThe post is written by Kay Warren, wife of evangelical pastor Rick Warren, author of (among others) the 2002 book The Purpose-Driven Life. In April 2013, their family was rocked by the suicide of their youngest son Matthew, age 27. The young man struggled with mental illness.

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Every Day More Real

The familiar Christmas carol, O, Little Town of Bethlehem, was written by Episcopal bishop and poet Phillips Brooks (1835-1893, whose birthday was this week). In the first verse of this poem, Brooks wrote:

http://tiny.cc/jq6rqx

http://tiny.cc/jq6rqx

This carol is a familiar one. Phillips Brooks is probably less familiar to most people. He was born to a Boston family in 1835, graduated Harvard twenty years later, attended seminary, received honorary degrees from Harvard, Columbia and Oxford, and eventually became Bishop of Massachusetts. A large man at six-foot-four, he became a large presence in the Episcopal church but he was also highly regarded by the leaders of other denominations. This man of great moral stature delivered an eloquent and memorable sermon following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Continue Reading →

Iron Fist of Progress

As a follow-up to my post from two days ago, I thought it would be appropriate to note here that the special election deciding whether or not to repeal the vaguely-worded nondiscrimination policy (adopted by the local city council in August) resulted in the ordinance being repealed. Speaking for myself, I’m relieved. The sweeping ramifications of this ordinance would have changed this diverse community in ways no one could accurately predict.

Demand-Progress-LogoAs one might imagine, some individuals who supported the ordinance are angry and have aired their bitter views in social media. They’re suggesting boycotts of businesses that supported repeal. They’re also anxious to bring the ordinance back again and again, whatever it takes to have it be permanently ensconced in city regulations. When I read comments written by people who supported the ordinance, I find a deep resentment toward people who voted for repeal, people who voted from heartfelt conviction but whose votes (the supporters argue) prove they’re “against progress.” Continue Reading →

A Hill Far Away

Because this is the Season of Advent, some people might find it unusual for me to write about a completely different pivotal moment in Jesus’ life … the Cross. Yes, we celebrate the birth of Christ with gift-giving, acknowledging the extraordinary Gift of God coming to earth in the form of a man who was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

christmas-gifts-presentsBut it’s also true that the Little Baby born in the Manger grew up, and from the minute He was born, we know the arc of His life led to the Cross where He would be crucified. Simply put, that was God’s plan. There’s this inextricable connection between the Christmas Child’s birthday and the events we know and celebrate as Easter or Resurrection Day. Continue Reading →

Loving All God’s Children

From the outset, let me stress my deeply-held conviction that every person who ever walked or will walk this planet is unique and deserving of dignity and respect. (Curious way to start a post, huh?)

GodsChildren1Today, there’s a special election in my town, related to an ordinance some have called a non-discrimination policy. After the city council passed the initial ordinance in great haste and over the objections of many citizens (see my post here), the people organized a signature petition to have the question brought to a vote. That election takes place today.

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L’Enfant Repose

As someone who loves music, I always welcome the songs of the season … but by the time Christmas Day arrives, I’ve usually reached my level of tolerance. Radio stations go 24/7 with various renditions of Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town and Jingle Bells. Last weekend when I was out on errands, I tuned in one station and heard one of my least favorite songs coming on so I switched the channel to another station. The second choice had the same song playing by a different artist. Arghhh!

http://tiny.cc/jtxkqx

http://tiny.cc/jtxkqx

I do have some favorites I think I could listen to everyday of the year. (Of course, if I did that, I might grow tired of them too. What a fickle person I am!) Continue Reading →

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